Britons have reacted with fury after discovering that despite only being in No10 for 44 day, Liz Truss will now be entitled to a £115,000 a year payout from the taxpayer as an ex-Prime Minister. The Public Duties Cost Allowance (PDCA) allows former Prime Ministers to claim back funds to go towards maintaining their activities in public life, and has provided millions for ex-leaders since it was set up in 1991 after Margaret Thatcher resigned. A silver lining for Ms Truss, who resigned today after a disastrous first month as Prime Minister and several recent days of chaos, is that the time actually spent leading the country has no bearing on whether or not she can claim the PDCA for the rest of her life. Furious Brits have let out their anger at the system that will allow a PM who “tanked the economy” and “caused misery for millions” being able to claim a taxpayer funded yearly payout that is more than twice that of the average UK salary.
Following her resignation, Ms Truss will become the sixth living former Prime Minister entitled to claim the PDCA. While former PMs have claimed millions through the scheme in total, some members of the public have called for Ms Truss to be held back from the policy, or to voluntarily forego it.
Last year John Major, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron all claimed more than £100,000 through the policy, according to Cabinet Office records.
Costs covered by the allowance can include “diary support, Met Police protection on public visits, correspondence, staffing at public visits, support to charitable work, social media platforms and managing and maintaining ex-PMs office”.
Theresa May, the only former prime minister who still serves as an MP and who therefore currently receives a taxpayer salary to carry out “public duties”, claimed £57,832.
Commenting on the possibility of Liz Truss getting access to this fund, Twitter user @MacGrigg asked: “Would a PM, who tanked the economy and caused misery for millions, still be entitled to the PDCA?”
Furious Brit Jonathan Berry added: “As our worst and, thankfully, shortest serving PM will you manage to do one good thing in your premiership and voluntarily forego the £115K p/a PDCA that you will be, I think we can all agree, undeservedly entitled to for the rest of your life?”
User @Crackerscal added: “The policy needs to be abolished”.
Meanwhile, @Herofthewords claimed that the money Ms Truss will gain from the PDCA would have been enough to pay off the mortgage they and their partner “will struggle to afford in 2023, thanks to her tanking the economy”.
A petition has already been launched to deny Ms Truss her PDCA, the description of which characterises it as “effectively a reward for failure”.
In a brief speech outside Downing Street in which she announced her resignation, Ms Truss said the Conservative Party had elected her on a mandate to cut taxes and boost economic growth. However, she said that given the situation: “I recognise that I cannot deliver the mandate on which I was elected by the Conservative Party.”
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She added that she will remain in post until a new leader is found, with 1922 committee chair Graham Brady confirming that a leadership contest would be possible by next Friday, October 28. The PDCA was introduced in 1991 to “assist former Prime Ministers still active in public life” with Margaret Thatcher its first recipient.
Last year, Mr Major and Mr Blair both claimed back the maximum available allowance, while Mr Brown claimed just under at £114,712 and Mr Cameron slightly less again at £113,423. In addition to the PDCA, former PMs are entitled to claim a pension allowance to contribute towards their office staff pension costs, limited to 10% of the maximum allowance.
In total, pension contributions linked to the PDCA cost the taxpayer £55,381 in 2020/2021.
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When asked in September if Mr Johnson would receive the allowance, his spokesman said: “I believe so. It certainly will be available to him.”
According to a Government briefing note, payments through the PDCA “are made only to meet the actual cost of continuing to fulfil public duties. The costs are a reimbursement of incurred expenses for necessary office costs and secretarial costs arising from their special position in public life. The allowance is not paid to support private or parliamentary duties. The PDCA is in addition to any constituency office which they may maintain as an MP.”
The Government has not responded to an Express.co.uk enquiry as to whether Ms Truss plans to claim the PDCA.